Running and “imagination time”

A scene from the movie, “The Way,” A Film by Emilio Estevez, 2011.

“Jane,” my 9-year-old, loves “imagination time” — playing by herself sometimes in her room.

I can always tell when she’s immersed in “imagination time.” Her voice will sound happy — high pitched and animated — even with the door closed — as she acts out characters and story lines she creates with her dolls.

It’s magical — sneaking a peak at Jane when she doesn’t know I’m there. Her sense of joy is much like my version of “imagination time” — the happiness and clarity I get when I run, especially when it’s outside, and best yet, on trails. (I don’t get to run on trails as often as I like, but when I do, I’m in “my happy pace” — just like Jane. )

Running is the one window of time I get to myself on a consistent basis during this stage of my life and motherhood.

For the artist in me, running is akin to the ER taking paddles to my chest — it brings my creative soul back to life.

It gives me the time and space to sort and reflect on where I am now and where I hope to go next.

Several weeks ago I watched a movie that struck a vein with me called “The Way.” It’s an indie film (now out on DVD). If you haven’t seen it already, I recommend it.

It stars Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez. It’s about a father and son, and how the father copes after his son, who was on a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago (the path of the apostle St. James), dies suddenly.

The father decides to finish the trek for his son, carrying his cremated remains. Along the way, he embarks upon his own spiritual journey.

Watching “The Way” made me want to run the Camino de Santiago (800 kilometers, starting in Frances and finishing in Spain) as a pilgrim someday.

If and when I get to do it, I know it will be a long time from now — until after I’m done showing “Tarzan” and “Jane” their “way” in this world. That’s OK with me.

“You don’t choose a life; you live one.”

This is one of the prevailing themes from “The Way”– that it is up to us to meet our life and live it to the fullest where we are now.

It also makes this point: It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of the world today  — but where are we going? And why are we in such a hurry to get there, especially when it seems that all we are doing is going in circles?

Running helps me “live my life,” not just “choose.”  It makes my life richer, helps me see my hopes and dreams in vibrant hues, and savor my blessings with prolonged sweetness.

Each step and new each turn is a gift.

I believe the truest source of our wisdom and creativity comes from the divine and God, and if you want to tap into the source, go out and run in nature. It’s “imagination time” in its purest form.

“You don’t choose a life; you LIVE one.”

Live well and run well, my friends.

If this manic world ever starts to swallow you whole, take a cue from your children.

Make your own “imagination time.”


Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!

Mileage today: 7; Mileage for 2012: 428


One thought on “Running and “imagination time”

  1. I feel the exact same way about running. I have had many experiences where I go out with a big personal issue on my mind and the answers will come flooding into mind while I am zoning out listening to my breath. btw- I would run as a pilgrim with you if you would like company.. 🙂 sounds epic.. got to live.

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